Composers: Clara Schumann, Rebecca Clarke, Kate Moore, Nicole Murphy, Jennifer Higdon, Lera Auerbach
Performers: Muses Trio
Catalogue Number: CD Baby and musestrio.com
Celebrating Clara is given to us by the Muses Trio, an all-female group consisting of violinist Christa Powell, cellist Louise King, and pianist Therese Milanovic. The Clara is of course Clara Schumann, the great pianist and composer who became the wife of Robert Schumann. Robert’s attitude to women composers was typical of his age: they belong with the Kinder, and in the Kirche or the Küche. But Clara’s music is in no way inferior to Robert’s, and indeed in terms of large-scale forms arguably superior. Her Trio in G Minor is truly a masterpiece, full of tunes which Brahms must have loved and played.
The disc is completed with seven pieces by six women composers from the 19th to 21st centuries. The stand-out composer is Rebecca Clarke. Her Lullaby for violin and cello is hauntingly beautiful. The disc opens with a lyrical cello solo by Kate Moore entitled, unhelpfully, Whoever you are, come forth. It is in an unchanging C Minor, using exclusively the upper two strings of the cello.
Nicole Murphy’s Surface 2 for piano trio exploits the extreme registers of the piano to great effect, while Jennifer Higdon’s Nocturne elicits another deeply persuasive performance from King. The only slightly disappointing piece is Lera Auerbach’s Postscriptum, which finishes several times before it actually finishes, giving an impression of aimlessness.
But overall, a welcome addition to the growing collection of music by women composers.